The human eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF-5A) is an 18 kDa protein (1). eIF-5A precursor [(ec-eIF-5A(lys)] is the only cellular protein known to contain a specific lysine residue which is transformed into the unique amino acid hypusine [N-(4-amino-2-hydroxybutyl)-lysine] by a series of post-translational reactions (2). eIF-5A promotes the formation of the first peptide bond during the initial stage of protein synthesis (3).
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